Lucknow, September 3: The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday came under fire from the Editors Guild of India after reports said that journalist Pawan Jaiswal was booked under criminal laws and an FIR registered against him. Jaiswal’s report about students being fed rotis with salt instead of vegetable in a government school named Siyur primary school in Mirzapur district under the midday meal brought considerable criticism as people demanded answers on the incident. Watch Video of Students Being Served Roti-Namak as Mid-Day Meal in Mirzapur.
“It is a cruel and classic case of shooting the messenger. It is precisely exposé such as these that show how valuable free and fearless journalists are to a democratic society,” the Guild said. UP Police Books Journalist Who Shot Video of Namak-Roti Being Served as Midday Meal in Mirzapur School.
Read the Editor Guild's Letter Below
The Editors Guild of India has issued a statement pic.twitter.com/F3q4WAlphn
— Editors Guild of India (@IndEditorsGuild) September 2, 2019
“It is a cruel and classic case of shooting the messenger. It is precisely exposé such as these that show how valuable free and fearless journalists are to a democratic society,” the Guild said.
“It is shocking that instead of taking action to fix what is wrong on the ground, the government has filed criminal cases against the journalist. Even if the government believes that his report is wrong, there are easy and conventional redresses available. Using the IPC and police is no way to respond to this,” it said.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) also sent a notice to Uttar Pradesh chief secretary after taking into account reports that children of a government-run primary school in Mirzapur were served rotis and salt as part of their midday meal.
According to a NHRC statement, the commission has sought a detailed report about the status of the midday meal scheme across the state within four weeks.
A video of children being served rotis and salt in their midday meal at Siyur Primary School under Jamalpur block of Mirzapur has gone viral on social media. The clip purportedly shows a woman distributing rotis and another woman giving salt to children as the midday meal. Authorities have suspended two teachers, apparently in an immediate damage-control exercise, reported PTI.